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Copart Tacoma. How to buy a newer Tacoma with out breaking the bank.

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Old 05-03-2011, 11:46 AM   #1
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Copart Tacoma. How to buy a newer Tacoma with out breaking the bank.

I have meant to make a post about this just for information sake encase there is anyone else out there interested in taking the road less traveled to pinch a few pennies.

Here is my introduction:

I grew up with a reg. cap '94 two wheel drive ranger starting when I was 16. I always wanted a 4x4 Tacoma and after saving for many years I finally got my truck.





It was a great truck and I thought I would never sale it in a million year. Then the classic story of boy meets girl, and before you know it I was a married man with a son on the way. Well, the good new is I drove my son home from the hospital in my trusty old truck but it was clear I needed a bigger back seat.

After a bunch of research and planning later I learned all about salvage auto actions and ended up picking this beauty up from a copart yard in Boise, ID.








Wow she looks bad.

Let me lay out some of the specifics:

Plus Side
  • Cost - $7,200 out the door including broker and copart fees
  • Frame and drive train - all intact and undistorted. I could have theoretically drove it out of the yard but my home was about 250 miles away so I ended up towing to back with my friends F-150 (Would not do that again, it was pretty scary and thank God it did not snow)
  • TRD Sport - Comes with the Street package interior and JBL sound System, The usual Bells and Whistles.
  • 83K miles compared to my old truck which had 175K
  • 4 doors in good shape
  • Its a Tacoma!
Bad Side
  • Airbags - single handedly the most expensive part of the repairs.
  • Body Work - There is one dent just above the driver rear door and one dent just above the passenger front door that will require some body work. all other dents will replace with new panels. But as you will see later some of them will require work as well.
I will add in my next post some of the things I watch out for when sizing up a potential buy from a salvage auction. Just to give a fast forward look at where I am at with the truck now, here is the most recent picture as of 4/12/13

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Old 05-03-2011, 11:50 AM   #2
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how many miles on the '05?
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:00 PM   #3
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The 05 had 83K when I bought it.
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbconvert View Post
The 05 had 83K when I bought it.
not bad, how far do you plan on going with the repairs? going for perfect or just somewhat presentable?
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:14 PM   #6
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Perfect is a strong word but I plan on doing my best to make it look like it was never wrecked. This would mean fixing all dents and repainting to match. I have done a lot of the body work already. I am maybe a few weeks to a month away from painting it. It just depends on when I can find time. I drive it daily to work and we only have a camry that my wife drives daily so that also makes it a little tougher because I can't just set the truck aside and get it all done at once, I have to take baby steps. but other than some finishing touches and a little more bodywork then paint all I need to purchase is a driver wheel airbag and everything that was broke will have been replaced or repaired.
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbconvert View Post
Perfect is a strong word but I plan on doing my best to make it look like it was never wrecked. This would mean fixing all dents and repainting to match. I have done a lot of the body work already. I am maybe a few weeks to a month away from painting it. It just depends on when I can find time. I drive it daily to work and we only have a camry that my wife drives daily so that also makes it a little tougher because I can't just set the truck aside and get it all done at once, I have to take baby steps. but other than some finishing touches and a little more bodywork then paint all I need to purchase is a driver wheel airbag and everything that was broke will have been replaced or repaired.
sounds good, can't wait to see the progress.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:51 PM   #8
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Finding a Good Deal

I am not familiar with a lot of salvage auction ďprovidersĒ. I know there are local ones and some national ones that are online. I found my truck using Copart so that is what I am basing this post on. I am not trying to sell their service or anything, they were recommended to me and so thatís how the story goes.

Introduction:

A family member recommended that I check out Copart.com. I live in Southeast Idaho so the two closest facilities are in Boise and Salt Lake City. Therefore, I minimized my search to those two places. Right away I found a few double cab Tacomas that interested me. My first pick was a 2003 first generation maroon double cab which had been in a rollover. I knew I would have to replace the roof but the rest of the body including the roof structure (frame) looked all good from the picture. I planned a day off from work (Copart is only open on weekdays) to travel down to Salt Lake and take a look first hand. I took a camera with me as well to document the repairs I would need to do. I should stop right there to note something. I didnít know it at the time but you need to register at Copart.com and get a buyer number before they will let you in their yard (Luckily I did), more on registration later.

Sizing up a potential Vehicle:


I began sizing up the truck, I was disappointed because in the roll over the top of the doors were more damage than the pictures from the website showed. This concerned me because I knew that I would basically need to replace all but one door because it will be next to impossible to get them to seal up tight again. One of my biggest pet peeves is a leaky door.

Moving on, a big bonus was no airbags deployed. If you buy vehicle where this has happen it does complicate a few things and they are very expensive to replace sometimes but itís not the end of the world either. Continuing on, I basically I took note of what body panels would need to be replace and what ones could be salvaged. Next I got in the truck and started it, put it in gear, tried the 4x4 and pushed every button inside to confirm it worked.

Finding Parts:


So by now I made it back home, I have lots of pictures and a parts list of everything I needed. My number one go to place for parts is car-part.com. I can search the inventory of local and near by salvage yards to find really great deals. Next, I look in ebay and craigslist, because you just never know. Then finally I got to toyotatpartszone.com. They are based in Canada and have new OEM parts, they are a great sources for the little items like the plastic covers that go over seat belts.

Now my spread sheet skills take over and I compile my parts list and add up all the cost shipping included. Next I will need to consider what my maximum bid will be on the truck. This is a combination of its book value corrected for a salvage title and ultimately what is it going to be worth to me, i.e. how much money I have to waste Mr. Hanky hits the fan, plain and simple. Finding the total cost of my new investment brings me to my next topic

Finding a Broker:


I still had a week before this truck went on sale so I began looking into finding a broker to buy the truck through. Unless you own a business you will need a broker or else you will be drastically limited to the vehicles you can buy. Not all broker are the same you have to call around, some can only buy salvage titles in certain states. Copart has a list of recommended brokers on their site I recommend Auto Bid Master from that list. Itís a good idea to ask them all the questions you might have about buying the car, they are usually very helpful and they can lay out all the fees associated with your purchase. Why do you need a Broker you might ask? Well I donít fully understand but it has something to do with tax codes. If you own your own business you can uses your business tax exempt to purchase up to 5 vehicles without a dealer license. (donít quote me on this different states might beÖdifferent)

Fees Ė Show me the money!


Typical broker fees are $200 per car from Copart. On top of that you have a Copart registration fee. The good news is if you cancel your registration before the 10 day trial period it is refunded in full (Registration fee is something like $120 and its good for one year). Depending on how much you plan on spending you will need to deposit a 10% down payment with a minimum of $400. A $400 down payment means you can bid on a car up to $4000. I figured the Tacoma I wanted might go as high as $6K but I wanted some breathing room encase something better showed up so I put down $750 (Good thing I did) which gave me the buying power of $7,500 which is the maximum amount that I can bid but not necessarily the amount I have to bid (you get the point). In total, I put down $870 ($750 for 10% down and $120 for registration). Note, just because you might win a vehicle for say $6,700 Copart slaps on its own fees based on the final sale of the vehicle. So out the door you might owe $400 in Copart fees, $200 in broker fees, and hopefully you remember to cancel your membership so you were refunded for that and out the door you now owe $7,300 for your new albeit wrecked vehicle. If you use the broker I recommended earlier, they will explain everything to you and let you know what cut Copart will take out so you can bid accordingly. Once I won the vehicle $670 of my down went to the total cost of the truck and $200 went to the broker. It is important to note that you canít cancel your Copart membership until you pay them in full for your new truck so make sure you donít take more than ten days to do so. It sounds scary but as long as you donít get emotionally attached to a particular vehicle itís not hard to back out, in which case you will be refunded in full if you donít go over your trial period. Just bid accordingly, keep in mind all your fees and be patient because people are always wrecking their cars and trucks. Once you pick a broker and work out your down payment they give you a login name and password to use on Copartís website or they might have a site that is integrated with Copart, either way make sure you work it out with them so you know how to bid.

Living on the edge:

[FONT=Arial][SIZE=3]
I now have the power to bid a vehicle using my broker account. I was two days away from the sale date of the maroon 2003 double cab I had traveled down to SLC to look at the previous week. That morning I noticed that Boiseís Copart yard had a sale date the day before SLC and they just added a 2005 double cab to their list. Now the starting bid on the 2003 maroon Tacoma in SLC was at $5,800, the 2005 up in Boise was $5,500. I didnít have time to travel to Boise to look at the truck first hand but from the looks of the pictures on the website it looked like all I had to do was replace a few airbags and body panels. This sounded a lot easier than replacing a whole roof and refitting doors like I knew I had to do with the 2003 maroon Tacoma. I decided to try and sleep on it, which was easier said than done. On one hand I liked the idea of a 2nd gen Tacoma but all I had were pictures to go off and on the other hand I had what I thought was going to be a decent 1st gen Tacoma that would work and I knew that there was nothing mechanically wrong with itÖ oh and it only had 53K miles on it, which for an 03 is not bad. So I got up the next morning (the day of the sale of the 2005 Tacoma) I looked at both trucks side by side and I took a risk. Bidding start at 12:00 pm. I think they were in $100 increments by the time bidding started. The auction is 100% online and there are three choices of bid increments you can choose from. Its gets intense because after someone puts down a new bid amount the program gives a going once, going twice, SOLD type of countdown encase someone wants to counter (not at all like ebay). As you can see from the pictures in my first post I ended up winning the 2005 Tacoma. I would not recommend buying a salvaged vehicle sight unseen. I should have taken my own advice and not got attached, but luckily in my case everything worked out. Here are the picture from the Copart website which basically all I had to gamble with.


















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Old 05-03-2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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I've pulled a couple out of there. I'm excited to see your progress
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Old 05-05-2011, 08:15 AM   #11
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Doesn't look too bad, keep us posted on the progress and good luck!!
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:04 AM   #12
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What about insurance. Will they insure a vehicle that was rendered unroadworthy therefore salvaged? How does that work?
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Old 05-05-2011, 10:33 AM   #13
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Sub'd
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:06 PM   #14
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Here is the break down of the process I went through from winning the truck to registering it and insuring it.

After I won the auction and paid copart for the truck, Copart sent my salvage title to my broker. My broker mailed the title to me and refunded all of my down payment (except for the $200 which they keep for themselves). From there I took my salvage title to the DMV to register the car. At the DMV I am required to answer a couple of questions like "did the airbags deploy" ...etc. Then I had to write out in hand all the repairs I made to the vehicle. I was taxed on the final bid price of the truck plus the fees that copart attached to the final sale price. If you get a salvage title that is not from the state you are registering the vehicle in, they have to do a vin check which means you need to bring the vehicle to the DMV so someone can physically check it. From there it was a piece of cake to get the truck insured. At no time did anyone request to see the truck or the repairs I made. all it took was one phone call to my insurance agent and I was good to go. I am not sure if they ever run a car fax on the vin, perhaps in the event of an accident to determine the actual value of the vehicle? It would be interesting if I wrecked the vehicle again, I see trucks like mine going for 22K all the time at dealerships and on craigslist. At this rate by the time I am done I have paid less than half of that for my truck.
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:38 PM   #15
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Buffing out the front end

Ok, obviously this Truck isn't going to buff itself out....

I began by taking apart the driver fender, bumper, and everything else that was damage around the area. I was stoked to find that the suspension and radiator were undamaged.

I ordered up a after market fender and radiator support. Unfortunately the radiator support had some shipping damage... But then again I got a full refund for it so it worked out.




Luckily, the worst of the damage was on the passenger side which made it a free-bee worth keeping around. First I did my best to restore the front radiator mount which was crushed. My number one go to tool was a hydraulic porta-power. With out that tool there would be no way to manipulate the sheet metal back to its proper place.

Once I felt like I was close, I cut out the rest of the radiator support.





Notice the AC line. I had to be careful to cut around that. This is where I stopped taking pictures, but when I cut the section out of the aftermarket radiator support I cut a slot to slide AC line in so I never had to disconnect it.

In this picture you can see the black radiator support.



I picked up the head light for $44 shipped off ebay and got the grill from a local salvage yard that I found using car-parts.com for $20 (it had a broken mount not a big deal though).
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Old 05-05-2011, 04:54 PM   #16
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Awesome stuff man. I always consider doing something like but never have the time(my excuse for beig lazy). Sub'd fo sho!
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:02 AM   #17
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I scored this bed side from a junk yard for pretty cheap. Obviously it needed some work though... Price was $100 plus $173 shipping.







After I got it into my garage, I invited my friend to come over and show me how to do some Body work. We used 80 grit on my DA to remove all paint. The body filler was then applied to bare metal. We sanded down the filler first using 40 grit in some areas to knock down the big stuff and then 80 grit to finish it off. I only used the DA to sand down to bare metal. The rest was done by hand using a 4"x16" body block.



Next came the layer of self etching primer.




We let that flash dry maybe 15-20 min.

Then we did 3 coats of heavy filler primer waiting about 15 min per coat. Sorry I don't have all the brand names of the stuff I used if anyone is interested I still have the cans so I can check. The black shading on the primer is the guide coat which will help me know where I have sanded when it comes to laying the base coat.






I plan on doing the base coat and clear coat all at once in a paint booth made of PVC piping and a box fan. My plan will go something like this... dry 320 grit with my body block, guide coat, wet sand 600 grit, Base coat, then clear coat.

Here are some details about the paint booth I plan to make.



here is a price list I made for the booth.



The 3/4 pipe looked strong enough so even though there is not a big price difference I will probably go with that.

here is a shot of the truck as she sits just before I started work on the bedside.





And of course the good side...

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Old 05-10-2011, 11:08 AM   #18
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Wow.. a lot of work there
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Old 05-10-2011, 11:09 AM   #19
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wow! looking good.

My dad and I made a similar paint booth for his golf cart and it worked great.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:00 AM   #20
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I did some playing around with photo shop (actually the free version of photo shop...paint.net) and came up with a render of the direction I would like to go with the truck. I am due for some new tires so when I change the old ones out I plan on painting them like the picture below. Window tint, Black flares, and a roof rack will also come with time...

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